Berlinale Exclusive Review: Minamata

Some shocking visuals and a few knuckle-biting moments bring this true story of the Minamata poisoning exposé to life. But despite best efforts the white saviour positioning undermines the power of the film. It's 1971 and once well-regarded photographer W. Eugene “Gene” Smith (Johnny Depp) is at the end of his useful career and drinking too much. Haunted from photographing the horrors of WWII, he has annoyed his publishers too many times to get consistent work and is reduced to endorsing products he doesn’t use for money. Late one night Aileen Mioko (Minami in her first English Language film) visits to beg him to come to Japan and cover the Minamata poisoning. A whole region is suffering from sickness and birth defects from the Chisso Corporation chemical factory pumping mercury into the water.

My Top 10 Favorite Horrific Romances

Joan gives us a list of her favourite romances from horror for Valentine's Day! 1. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992): A horror story based on eternal love complicated by the side effects of eternal life. Great art direction and Richard E. Grant is awesome as a psychologist stumped by patient Renfield’s obsession with flies. Why I love it: Gary Oldman in blue tinted shades indulging in absinthe. 2. “Crimson Peak” (2015): When a tall, handsome stranger (Tom Hiddleston) professes his desire to take aspiring author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) away to his family mansion, what could possibly go wrong? Gothic and darkly beautiful, this is a romance that only Guillermo del Toro could tell and Jessica Chastain nearly walks away with the film as the dominating, manipulative Lucille. Why I love it: The candlelight waltz with Tom Hiddleston.

Spotlight: Sally Potter- Writer, Director, Choreographer, Musician

A creative force to be reckoned with. This woman graduated as a dancer, choreographed dance shows, made music, directed plays and wrote and directed world-class movies. And all this output can be traced back to when she was the tender age of 14 and made her first 8mm films. Her name: Sally Potter. If you have seen one or two Potter films, you may think that she broke or rejected the conventions of mainstream film making, but that isn’t quite right. What Potter does with her films is let them speak. The ideas within them come out in ways that are free forming and she follows the flow of them until they are completed films. They are not without structure or form; they are parts of the human condition that have been given freedom of expression.

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